RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As construction begins on a temporary GRTC bus transfer station in downtown Richmond, drivers worry this will further exasperate parking struggles in the area.

GRTC selected a parking lot across the John Marshall Courts building downtown as the site for the $2.2 million project. According to GRTC, the new transfer plaza will offer a separate, secure location for bus transfers. It replaces a current on-street transfer area located along 9th St. The new station’s funding stems from federal, state, and local level sources and will accommodate 12 bus bays — striving to enhance the public transit system in the city.

Chesterfield resident Austin Sutherland works in downtown Richmond. He agreed it’s important to invest in public transportation.

Rendering of the new GRTC bus transfer station. Courtesy of GRTC.

“If it’s adding to the bus transportation, maybe that’ll even help reduce the amount of cars here in the first place.” Sutherland said. “Plus having a public transit system is kind of important.”

However, fostering smoother public transit travel could come at a price for drivers. Mechanicsville resident Emily Carr said she avoids the trip to downtown Richmond whenever possible, because parking can be a nightmare.

“It’s already tricky enough driving down here and parking,” Carr said.

She fears removing a core parking lot in the area would add to this problem. She noted how with limited street parking, parking lots can be more valuable than people realize.

Site of new GRTC bus transfer station during first week of construction. Courtesy of Forrest Shelor.

“Hopefully I can find a parking spot after all that,” Carr said.

She’s not alone. Because Sutherland works downtown, he’s familiar with the struggle many drivers face to find a place to park their cars. He worries the city can’t afford to lose more public parking spaces.

“If we were to lose those lots, I can’t really imagine what that’s going to look like,” Sutherland said.

Construction on the project is set to finish in Spring 2023. The station will remain in use until further plans for a more permanent location are established. In an effort to combat resulting decreased parking accessibility, GRTC said public parking will still be available in the nearby Coliseum parking garage at 501 N. 7th St.